In the past, tendencies to err toward dogmatism occurred within the CPC, causing major damage to our revolutionary cause. After the launch of reform and opening up in the late s, the CPC made great efforts to set things right, thereby restoring and confirming its belief of freeing minds and seeking truth from facts. During this new process, Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era has taken shape, which is the latest achievement in adapting Marxism to the Chinese context and a Marxist theory for present-day China.
It is also an important constituent part of the theories of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Integrating the commitment to Marxism with efforts to develop and attune it to contemporary needs.
While we emphasize the guiding position of Marxism in China, we frequently encounter questions such as this: Marxism was a theory produced in the 19th century, but we are already in the 21st century; is this theory still suited to contemporary needs? As a major achievement in scientific knowledge in human intellectual history, Marxism is a scientific system of thinking founded on the basis of rigorous scientific research. In particular, the fundamental transformation in the field of philosophy which it brought about provided a rational worldview and methodology for structuring the Marxist system of thinking.
Though many changes have taken place in the world over the past century, the basic tenets of Marxism are by no means outmoded. It reveals the most general laws governing nature, society and human thinking, which are universal in all stages of history and will not change after one century. It is true that capitalism today differs from that in the past, and many new circumstances have arisen in the world socialist movement. However, the underlying laws of the capitalist mode of production which Marx brought to light still exist, and the inevitable trend that socialism will replace capitalism has not changed.
Consequently, Marxist theories still play a guiding role in our current practices, and its basic standpoints, viewpoints, and methods must be upheld. On the other hand, however, Marxism is not a sclerotic or closed system. Rather, it is a living theory that continually develops on the basis of practice, and a scientific method that moves in step with the trends of the times which allows us to continually understand and reshape the objective world.
Marxism does not exhaust truth, but rather paves a path toward it. The flows of scientific knowledge of each generation have added new achievements to the long river of absolute truth. However, as each generation is restricted by the historical conditions of their time, their knowledge has the character of relative truth.
Marx and Engels created their theories in the specific context of the 19th century, and the knowledge that they obtained was only that which could be obtained given the circumstances at that time. Today, we are in the 21st century, so we certainly cannot stop at these prior achievements; rather, we need to keep pace with the times and study new issues from a contemporary perspective in light of our present circumstances so as to enrich and further develop Marxist theories and attune Marxism to contemporary needs.
During the practice of revolution, economic construction, and reform, the CPC has integrated its commitment to Marxism with efforts at developing it. In doing so, the CPC has actively launched new theoretical inquiries while upholding the guiding role of Marxism. Efforts at adapting Marxism to the Chinese context are closely linked to efforts at attuning it to contemporary needs. This process not only allows us to obtain new specific knowledge, but also to continually deepen our knowledge and understanding of the basic tenets of Marxism.
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This process spurs us to rethink our current understandings and imbue Marxism with contemporary meaning. Of course, if we are to attune Marxism to contemporary needs, we also need to closely follow global developments and changes from a broad, global viewpoint and study and reflect on them from the perspective of human society as a whole. In the new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics, the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at the core has put forward new requirements for upholding and developing Marxism in the new historical context.
Xi Jinping pointed out that the secret to Marxism retaining its lasting vitality lies in the integration of a commitment to Marxism with efforts at developing it, and continuous theoretical innovation on the basis of new experience. He emphasized in particular that we need to heed and respond to the call of our times, and pay attention to new issues arising from current practices so as to attune Marxism with contemporary needs and develop Marxism for the 21st century.
Even more effective in undermining Marxism, however, were those intellectuals who set out as true believers to apply Marxist theory in the social sciences but ended by rethinking and rejecting the entire tradition. The Annales school, as it is known from its principal journal, turned French historical scholarship on its head in the s and s, primarily by challenging and later rejecting the hitherto dominant Marxist theories of historical progress.
For the most part, they have concluded that Marxist notions of the structure of the past — of social relationships, of patterns of events, and of their influence in the long term — are simplistic and invalid. In the field of anthropology, the influential structuralist school associated with Claude Levi-Strauss, Foucault, and others performed virtually the same mission.
Although both structuralism and Annales methodology have fallen on hard times critics accuse them of being too difficult for the uninitiated to follow , we believe their critical demolition of Marxist influence in the social sciences is likely to endure as a profound contribution to modern scholarship both in France and elsewhere in Western Europe.
It was precisely from the hands of these intellectuals that the bourgeois and petty bourgeois ideas dominating the universities today arose. Foucault is seen as the father of Queer Theory. As the class struggle ebbed, in the wake of countless betrayals by the leaders, these ladies and gentlemen concluded that it was in fact the class struggle and the working class which was flawed and not its leadership.
In their minds, the class struggle was dissolved into an infinite series of small individual struggles with no common characteristics.
One of the most recent variants of identity politics to sweep the radical petty bourgeoisie is the concept of intersectionality. This is not just a minor deviation or confusion by well-meaning young people, but an entirely retrograde, reactionary and counter-revolutionary ideology that we must combat with every means at our disposal.
The ruling class has always striven to sow division in the working class, following the age-old tactic of divide and rule. They use any means to turn one section of workers against another: racism, the national question, language, gender or religion — every one of these has been used, and is still being used, to divide the working class and to divert its attention away from the class struggle between rich and poor, exploiters and exploited.
This fact is well known and understood by almost everyone on the Left. But in fighting against racism, sexism and other forms of oppression that exist in society, it is possible to go to the other extreme, abandoning the class point of view and playing the game of the ruling class by putting what divides us above everything else, ignoring the roots of oppression in class society, advancing the sectoral interests of this or that group to the detriment of the united class struggle. Most people who are focused on particular forms of oppression tend to ignore or play down the real basis of oppression, which is class society itself.
They oppose any attempt to unite the working class in a revolutionary struggle against Capital, insisting that we concentrate on this or that issue. The results are negative in the extreme. The following example from Canada is sufficient to expose the counter-revolutionary activities of these groups. Following the US elections, a group of youngsters in Toronto spontaneously were trying to organise an anti-Trump demonstration through Facebook. As a result, these youngsters, feeling intimidated, were demoralised and driven out of the movement.
This is not an isolated case but is entirely typical of the reactionary tactics of this tendency. The time has come to call things by their right name: that is, to state clearly that identity politics and all the related nonsense that has raised its head in recent years represents a clearly reactionary tendency, which must be combated with the utmost vigour. It is possible to draw a certain analogy between so-called identity politics and the national question. Of course, every analogy has its limits. But in this case, the analogy is very striking and can be simply stated: Marxists are opposed to and fight against any form of oppression or discrimination, whether on grounds of nationality, gender, ethnicity, language, religion or anything else.
And that is quite sufficient. Marxists will defend oppressed nations against powerful and predatory imperialist states. We are against oppression in all its forms. That is our starting point.
But these elementary propositions by no means exhaust the question of a Marxist attitude to the national question. After A, B and C there are more letters in the alphabet. Marx explained that the labour question is always the most important question, and the national question is always subordinate to it. The right of nations to self-determination is not an absolute right outside of time and space.
It is always subordinate to the general interests of the international proletarian revolution. Lenin frequently emphasised the same point. The struggle of the working class against capitalism demands the complete solidarity and the closest unity of the workers of all nations.
While struggling against every manifestation of national oppression or discrimination, it is necessary to resist the attempts of the bourgeois and petty bourgeois nationalists to subordinate the workers to their particular views and policies. The hired worker who has come to understand his class interests is equally indifferent to the state privileges of the Great-Russian capitalists and to the promises of the Polish or Ukrainian capitalists to set up an earthly paradise when they obtain state privileges.
Capitalism is developing and will continue to develop, anyway, both in integral states with a mixed population and in separate national states. It is well known that Lenin consistently supported the demand for the right of nations to self-determination, up to and including separation. But that is only one side of the equation. In his writings on the national question, along with his insistence on the right of nations to self-determination up to and including separation, Lenin also emphasised the need for the Marxists to draw a clear line of demarcation between themselves and the petty bourgeois nationalists and Democrats:.
We will always defend the rights of oppressed nations against their oppressors. But this does not mean that we must accept the impositions of the bourgeoisie of oppressed nations or subordinate the interests of the working class to their demands.
With the proletariat, however, these demands are subordinated to the interests of the class struggle. The Jews suffered from the most appalling oppression in tsarist Russia. The Jewish workers were doubly oppressed — as workers and also as Jews. The Bolsheviks stood for full rights for the Jews and fought arms in hand against the anti-Semitic pogrom-mongers. Yet Lenin denounced in the most emphatic manner the attempts of the Jewish Bund to claim a special status within the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party.
He denied their right to speak exclusively on behalf of Jewish workers. He said that to accept such claims would be to deviate from proletarian policy and subordinate the workers to the policy of the bourgeoisie. The Bundists were scandalised and attacked Lenin for his alleged lack of sensitivity to the problems of Jewish people, but Lenin merely shrugged his shoulders. The principles of proletarian class unity and internationalism had to take precedence over the national question. The interests of working class women are fundamentally the same as those of working class men. All are oppressed and exploited by the bankers and capitalists, and it makes no difference to them whether these bankers and capitalists are men or women.